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Daring to ask a racey question: Ice machines in which of London's hotels, please?

I've been to London 4 times, and do know that Pax Lodge in Hampstead (the Girl Scout/Guide hostel), would give me access to their fridge/freezer for an ice cube tray (I volunteered there for months in the past), but I'm looking for hotels that are located in Zone 1 which have ice machines. Yes, I know it's against most of London's religions to have ice machines, but there are SOME who dabble in such a sacrilege and own one.
I'm interested in knowing which hotels that you know of in London that DO have ice machines, please (I know there's a huge list of those who do not have one, I don't want that list :) . Looks like at least the Holiday Inns do, please share if you know of others. (please no judgemental, ice-cube-haters)
Thanks!
-Alison

Posted by
24624 posts

Does it have to be an ice machine? Most places we've stayed are more than accommodating if we ask at the desk or at the bar to provide an ice bucket or large glass full of ice. Just ask.

The large ice machines with a large pile of ice that you scoop out from or use your cup as a scoop have been shown - pre-covid - in this country to be very unhygienic. After covid I would think they would become very rare. The kind which dispense into a cup by pushing a button (like on a fridge) are much safer, or bar staff.

Posted by
617 posts

Rick’s favorite B&B in London: Aster House in South Kensington. An unlimited supply of ice and they have nice tall 16oz glasses available. Tucked into a closet on a landing between the 1st and 2nd floor.

Posted by
9070 posts

The Resident Kensington (formerly the Nadler Kensington) has an ice machine but guests can't access it themselves. If you ask, they are happy to get you a bucket. They'll even deliver it to your room. Theyre used to American guests asking for it.

The most interesting place to have an ice machine was at the Howe Keld B & B in Keswick. They had a small table top one that didn't make a lot of ice but enough. I was told they go it for "their American guests" since the place was listed in the RS guidebooks. It was in the lounge so guests could get ice any time and not have to bother the owners.

Posted by
817 posts

Hmm, the Sofitel, Heathrow 5, has ice machines, so I am thinking they may all do? The Premier Inn County Hall had one last time I was there which was a few years ago. Again, if one has this, might they all? There were vending machines in the same little room, as well.

Posted by
4601 posts

One of the first things that I learned while traveling to Europe from the USA was that Europeans don't worship ice in their drinks like Americans.

Order tea in the UK and it is hot. If you live in the Southern USA, which is a lot hotter than the UK or most of Europe, you understand why ice tea is the thing. However, Europeans, not so much ice.

Posted by
24624 posts

mr user account a couple of messages up is trying to spam us on this thread too. reported to the boss

Posted by
5482 posts

From Google: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, and St Giles.

As noted London Accommodations rarely have ice machines and if they do they are not on every floor.
Not having them aren’t against any religion, simply a different way of life.

Posted by
1596 posts

That's actually something I wouldn't mind seeing in the RS books; when he recommends a hotel and it does have an ice machine or access to ice, he includes that little tidbit of info. If I was trying to decide between two hotels and one had an ice machine or fridge and one didn't, I'd probably go with the one that does.

Posted by
5515 posts

Allan, its entirely possible that none of the hotels in RS books have ice machines or fridges in rooms. Just not his style. Many places do not want you eating in your room either - something else we take for granted.

Posted by
1596 posts

Allan, its entirely possible that none of the hotels in RS books have
ice machines or fridges in rooms.

That's why I think it's worth noting if it did.

Posted by
5515 posts

Allan, yes, I'm sorry for stating the obvious. Sometimes the lack of non-verbal cues throws things off.

Posted by
3437 posts

In the hotels I have stayed at in London (mostly smaller privately run while there on my own or 5 star while on business), none have had ice machines directly accessible to the guests. They all have have more than happy to supply ice on request either from the in house bar or from the front desk with no explanation needed to what the ice will be used for. The amount provided per request has always been enough to add to 3 - 4 drinks, but not enough to make iced tea or fill an ice chest.

Posted by
630 posts

Sorry please help me here, but why do you need ice in your room?

Posted by
3437 posts

but why do you need ice in your room?

Americans are conditioned from birth that it is impossible to drink anything that is not at least 1 degree from freezing, except for hot coffee of course. Even having a sip of water in the room, it must be served in a glass that is at least filled 90% with ice! ;-/

Posted by
17869 posts

I'm generally not an ice-in-drinks person, but it's a lot cheaper to buy a room-temperature soda (or 6-pack or liter bottle) at a corner shop and pour it over your own ice than to buy a cold drink from just about any source. Especially for families traveling with children and picnicking in the room, the savings could be quite substantial.

When I travel in the US, I use ice to keep yogurt, cheese, and restaurant leftovers safely chilled when there's no mini-fridge in the room or I'm in transit to a new city by car.

Posted by
2922 posts

The few times I’ve wanted ice to chill wine or a soda and there’s no mini-fridge in the room, I’ve just gotten it from the bar. It’s never been an issue.

Posted by
6976 posts

its entirely possible that none of the hotels in RS books have ice machines or fridges in rooms.

On the RS tours I have taken and the hotels listed in the RS books, we have used on our independent time, my recollection is all had a mini fridge in the room.

When we travel in Europe we have 2 sets of bottles. All are in the fridge overnight so we can start the day will cold water and have the 2nd set waiting for us in the fridge when we get back to the room. Until now our travels have been around a teacher's schedule, so its been summer.

As for 'why ice', it seems to make the water so much more refreshing.

Posted by
5515 posts

On the RS tours I have taken and the hotels listed in the RS books, we have used on our independent time, my recollection is all had a mini fridge in the room.

joe32F, interesting. We've had the opposite experience. Maybe one had a shared mini-fridge down the hall.

Posted by
1596 posts

I'm with Stan. I've only been on one RS tour-Loire to the South of France, but the only hotel with a fridge was the last stop in Nice. Surprisingly, both hotels in Nice had a fridge; the RS chosen and the one we stayed at after the tour.

Posted by
1083 posts

I’ve stayed at the Hilton London Tower Bridge Hotel. On the south bank near London Bridge rail and tube stations. It’s a corporate style hotel and lacks local charm but I was fine with that. They had ice machines on the floor I was on. If you have lounge access there’s ice, drinks and food at certain hours of the day.

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/lontbhi-hilton-london-tower-bridge/

Posted by
3605 posts

I think it’s a valid question if this person tends to get migraine headaches - no need to shame them. A ziploc bag with ice placed on the back of the neck or head can really help sometimes.

Posted by
630 posts

Thank you all for your responses re why ice, and I do understand your preference, but is it actually a deal braker? I prefer baths to showers, but if I found a perfect hotel, but no bath, I would still book it!

Posted by
1596 posts

re why ice, and I do understand your preference, but is it actually a
deal braker?

Not a deal breaker, but it would be an influencer; but not if I had to sacrifice a central location for a generic chain hotel at the edge of town.

Posted by
630 posts

Allan, wow! Ice seems to be a serious thing for you guys.......

Posted by
1596 posts

Caro, one of those creature comforts from home, my wife has to have ice water or she gets crabby in the evening. Happy wife, happy life.

Posted by
17869 posts

Ice is for some Americans the equivalent of the kettle-in-the-room requirement. (You can nearly always spot a hotel review by a UK resident, because it will mention whether there was or was not a kettle.)

As a summer traveler, I look for air conditioning. And I spurn Pepsi (as opposed to Coke). We all have our quirks, I think.

Re: Ice. My ice-loving travel companion managed fine for 6 weeks in Scotland and England last year because she was willing to leave the hotel and walk a few blocks to get an iced soda or buy a cold soda in a store. I think it was helpful for her to know in advance that she probably wouldn't find an ice machine in most of our (budget) lodgings, so she was psychologically prepared. She no longer even remembers where (if anywhere) we had ready access to ice in the hotel.

Posted by
630 posts

And i am please no ice in my drink, cold but no ice! Want to taste my drink🤗
Ice, quite, fanny, bathroom all things that seperate two anglophine nations!!!!

Posted by
3437 posts

And I spurn Pepsi (as opposed to Coke).

Well of course, anyone from the south part of the US will agree that the only soft drink is Coke (and every soft drink, no mater the flavor, is referred to as "Coke" as in "Can I get you a coke?" "Yes, Sprite please.") and will refuse to even say the name of that other brand. The only other soft drink we can say the name of is Dr Pepper. ;-/

Posted by
24624 posts

10-2-4

Hot Dr Pepper season coming soon.....

Best is (was) from Dublin, with pure cane sugar

Posted by
24624 posts

I've been wondering what makes this a "racey question". And why you had to "dare" to post it...

Posted by
1596 posts

I think ice in drinks is right up there with wearing a ball cap or t-shirt with your team's logo on it. I've noticed some North Americans on this forum hate it when other North Americans don't blend in and instead act like North Americans. Not as judgemental as it used to be when I first discovered this site a couple of years ago, but still some huffing.

Posted by
3437 posts

all had a mini fridge in the room.

The only thing close to a mini fridge in the hotel rooms I have encountered on RS tours is a mini bar fridge. The kind that is loaded with various drinks and snacks at an extremely highly marked up price. I do not remember any having enough space to add my own items.

Posted by
3437 posts

I have never had a hot Dr Pepper. Room temperature, yes, ugh, but not actually heated. Might have to try that when it gets cold enough. Would not have worked today since it was 95 Fahrenheit and the thought of anything not ice cold never crossed my mind.

Too bad the Dublin, Texas, bottling facility got shut down. Their sodas really were better than the rest. You can still occasionally find Coke and Dr Pepper made with real cane sugar. Snapple took over the Dublin region and is selling sugar sweetened Dr Pepper again limited to less than 40 miles from the town (heard it is not the same taste any more). There is the Mexican sugar sweet version of most Coke products easily found in Texas as well as other areas around the country. But Coke puts out a special version in 2 liter bottles at Passover made with pure cane sugar. If you are lucky enough to find them in your store (here they have a yellow cap on the bottle instead of the regular colors) it is worth trying it to see the difference.

Sorry, guess this is not really on topic. :-)

Posted by
6098 posts

I never need to have ice in my water, room temperature is fine. But then there are cocktails in your hotel room , and we need ice. We call or go to the bar for ice then.

Posted by
190 posts

I went to Europe about three months after knee surgery, and still had some problems with swelling after a long day of touring. All of the staff at the hotels we stayed in were very happy to provide me with ice upon request. Especially after I told them what I needed it for. No need to look for an ice machine.

Alison, still wondering why this is a "racey" question.

Posted by
257 posts

:)
Thank you for all those who answered the question, I appreciate it. I will file it away. And yes, I've been at places who give ice at the bar, but they weren't in zone 1.
Nigel, all the other posts that did not answer the question was the reason I wrote it was a racey question :) (Like Daffy Duck, I knew I'd get shot at :) But someone had to stir up the discussion :) can't let it be boring. :) I agree with the msg that said it would be helpful info, both ice machines and fridges/microwaves, in the guidebooks. For a variety of reasons.
Thanks for the information, all :)
-Aly

Posted by
3437 posts

Allison, I understood how you phrased the question. There used to be a time when most of Europe, including the UK, served room temp beer and thought cold drinks were bad for your health. It brought back memories of the first time I was in London (late 1990's) on a business trip and one of my travel companions asked for scotch on the rocks at the hotel bar. The reaction of the bar man reminded me of the episode of Faulty Towers where one of the guests asked for a screwdriver (drink). The thought of having scotch with ice was apparently something that never crossed this person's mind as an acceptable possibility. That was after it was explained that rocks in this case meant pieces of ice, not actual rocks. It took some time, but the ice did eventually appear. The following nights there was no issue with ice being available. :-)

Posted by
85 posts

This definitely is a "racey" question!

Those who would chide Americans for wanting ice, in violation of European norms, should bear in mind that tourists might not be accustomed to local weather, such as hot and humid summers, that we might be particularly active, or that we might carry medications that need to be kept cold.

My parents first took me to Europe when I was nine. I grew up in Canada, so I was already more restrained than Americans. (Canada was very British in those days. Most Sunday shopping was illegal in Ontario, the national and provincial broadcasters beamed moralistic, shame-based TV programming, and you felt like Oliver Twist if you asked for anything.)

Despite thoroughly enjoying my first six weeks in France and Germany, I remember remarking to my parents, on the flight home, that Europeans must not get thirsty the way North Americans do. At nine, I had already noticed that refrigerators in European homes didn't cool well (or were so small that items had to be left out), that cold drinks were served warm, and that beverages for me (i.e., not wine or beer) came in tiny bottles. I might have to sip 200 mL of warm "limonade" (at a menu price of 15 francs!) for a half hour in blazing sun while grown-ups enjoyed 750 mL of beer (at a lower price, although the beer probably wasn't much colder).

I haven't spent much time in England, but self-service ice remains unusual in France and Germany, too. I'd still be embarrassed to ask for ice at a European hotel. At least refrigeration technology has caught up in Europe, and I can buy whatever size of beverage, or whatever number of small bottles, for myself.

I walk a minimum of 15 km every day when I am Europe, so I get warm even during the shoulder season, or during today's increasingly mild winters. In January/February of this year I was drinking about 3 L of water a day. Shopkeepers noticed when I kept coming in for cold bottles.

Last fall, I stayed at a Marriott hotel in Paris. Normally I avoid US chains in Europe, but I wanted to see what had become of the PLM Saint-Jacques, France's most modern hotel when it opened in the early 1970s, and still remarkable when I first stayed there in the mid-1980s. I knew there was an American influence the moment I saw a giant glass dispenser filled with ice water in the lobby. For all that I speak French, cultivate relationships with locals, and try to blend in, I didn't feel guilty in the least for enjoying a cup of ice water every time I returned to the hotel. (Two other unusual features were air conditioning that still worked during the shoulder season, and fire sprinklers — uncommon even in newer European hotels, despite some terrible fires, particularly in France.)

Posted by
24624 posts

I'd like to go right back to what I said at the very top of this thread - ice is available. Almost everywhere. All you have to do is ask for it. Any time the desk or bar is open. Without any embarrassment. They are used to it, they won't mind.

You may not - likely won't except in high end business especially American chain hotels - find a machine, but there is always ice.

Posted by
2517 posts

Cognac wrote, "I grew up in Canada, so I was already more restrained than Americans."

Love that broad generalization.

Posted by
9070 posts

I'd still be embarrassed to ask for ice at a European hotel

I like ice. If I want ice, I will ask at my hotel. Sometimes they can handle it, sometimes they can't. I've gotten it in everything from an ice bucket to a glass. Sometimes, especially in very small establishments, or some B & B's they just don't have it. But I am never embarrassed to ask for anything. Well, within reason.

If it's hot and the hotel doesn't have a/c, I will ask if they have a fan. (I travel with a small, palm size fan that is good but it doesn't cool down an entire room.). If it's very cold I will ask for an extra blanket. (In one case, the hotel brought up a protable radiator.) Run out of toiletries? You'd be surprised how many hotels have some to get you by for a day or two.

Contrary to what a lot of people are led to believe by RS, you are not there to please the hotel. They are there to please you. Be polite and friendly and you might be surprised at what extras are offered to you. I try to learn the names of the people working the reception desk and maybe something about them. That stands out because so few people do that.

Posted by
3437 posts

Contrary to what a lot of people are led to believe by RS, you are not there to please the hotel.

Hmmm. Never really got that impression from anything published, spoken or hinted at in any way from anyone at RS.

RS and their tour guides do preach being a polite and respectful person when making requests, and never make demands, at the hotel and not becoming the "bad American" with attitude when you can't get what you requested. Being respectful and polite, greeting hotel employees including the cleaning staff and learning their names even if you are there for only one night is what we all should be doing. And not because it might help us get our request provided to us faster when we have one, but because it is just courteous.

Posted by
239 posts

Just about every hotel you'd stay in will have ice, just not like you are used to in the US. Unless the hotel is a big international chain (Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott, etc) you will almost certainly have to ask for it. Ice machines you can scoop you own from, in general, arent done in the UK (I am sure UK Health & Safety would have a field day regarding the hygiene of the machines.) But asking at reception or the hotel bar is absolutely fine. If you have status with any hotel chain, you can also check your hotel lounge.

Posted by
3415 posts

Some summers, especially when we took our children with us, we would stop at the McDonald's nearest our hotel, and each get a large cup of ice. We always offered to pay, but never had to. This way we could have cold drinks prior to bed ( and I could have ice water beside my bed- I have cough asthma, and it helps....).

Posted by
4135 posts

Toni’s comment brings up one of my first thoughts when coming across this thread today from last summer - McDonald’s and other fast-food places give you a cup that’s almost all ice when you order a cold beverage. That means there’s less room for soft drinks, tea, whatever, so you’re really buying a cup of frozen water, with just a little added liquid, and not a drink with a bit of ice added. Profit - That’s the religion in the USA!

Posted by
17869 posts

And the fountain syrup is less expensive than canned and bottled soft drinks to begin with.

Posted by
24624 posts

McDonalds in England add ice, but much less ice

Posted by
1014 posts

To answer the question on why I need ice, at times, I need ice to put in my cooler when traveling. I use insulin and must keep it cold. Yes, ice can be hard to find at times, but when I have asked, I usually can get bucket or so to keep stuff cool.